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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.


!Cautions: A. GREGGI (aka gray or catclaw acacia) and A. BERLANDIERI can poison livestock.

Black Catechu

(Acacia catechu)

A tannin-rich extract has been prepared from the leaves and young shoots and used in decoction and applied to inflammed tissue and burns to promote rapid healing.
Powerfully astringent in action and has been used in chronic diarrhea, dysentary, chronic catarrh to stop excessive mucous discharge and hemorrhages . Local application for sore mouth and gums.
Little used today as there are other herbal choices without the propensity toward constipation that this one has.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.

A tincture is prepared in a 1:5 ratio using 80%-100% vodka or its equivalent. DOSE is 2.5 to 5 milliliters twice daily.

aka Prickly Moses
(Acacia farnesiana)

CONTAINS: Flowers contain insecticidal compounds.

PART USED: Bark, flower, pod, seed


Aromatic, stimulant, nervine.
Has been used internally for diarrhea.
The bark has been used both internally and externally (in the bath) for skin problems.

The ripe seeds have been pressed for cooking oil.
An oil distilled from the flowers has been used for flavoring.

The flowers have been used in the bath for dry skin.

Flowers are used in potpourri.

An oil distilled from the flowers has been used to repel insects.

A black dye is obtained from the bark and the pods.

The flowers and its distilled oil are used in perfumery.

Gum Acacia
aka Gum Arabic, Cape Gum, Egyptian Thorn, Gum Mimosa, Gummi Arabicum
(Acacia senegal)
image 1Image

DRUG INTERACTIONS: •Possible interference with the rate of absorption of oral drugs.
•Exposure to solutions of ferric acid causes gelatinization.

Acacia gum is the dried gummy exudate which collects on the surfaces of the branches. At the end of the African rainy season, the stems begin to exude the gum which is then harvested from December to June and marketed as 'gum arabic'.

Dried gum can be sucked on to relieve bronchial passages and for sore throats. The mucilage makes a good vehicle of delivery for other herbs in combination.
Ancient Egyptians applied it fresh to loose teeth to support the tooth while the astringent properties reduced the swelling and helped to tighten the gum tissue. It was also applied to open wounds as an antiseptic balm.
Sucking on the gum is useful for mouth ulcers and throat inflammation. It helps check growth of oral bacteria and soothes mouth tissue. In mucilage form (prepared by boiling the exudate) it acts as a demulcent. Its main effect is to form a soothing protective coating over inflammations in the respiratory, alimentary and urinary tracts.
It combines well with other herbs in a poultice and in this form is relaxing and absorbs discharges. It is also used to soothe inflammations of the stomach, bowels, uterus and vagina.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.

Mucilage = Dissolve gum in water. A single dose is 1 to 4 tsp.
Syrup = Mix 1 part mucilage with 3 parts of a plain sugar syrup. DOSE is 1 to 4 tsp.

The best gum used for pharmacy is known as KORDOFAN GUMand is collected in upper Egypt, Sudan, Kodofan, Dafar and Arabia. It is nearly white and freer from impurities than most commercial varieties.
There are two types of Senegal gum - one is whitish and the other reddish.
Other commercial species are A. gummifera (Morocco), A arabica (India), and Australian gum. All are considered inferior.
Gum for medicinal uses should be in roundish, colorless or pale colored tears and have little taste. Also, should be mucilagenous with little or no odor. Should be almost entirely soluble in water and form a mucilage or thick viscid liquid. It is insoluble in alcohol, but soluble in diluted alcohol.

©2000 & 2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH